Detective Tyrone Higgins finally called off the surveillance to turn in for the night. Apparently he had been wrong about the janitor, Jarred Dobson. He must not have been involved in the break in at Representative Arthur Bachman’s office. The secondary surveillance team was already on its way home after having witnessed several hours of Jarred Dobson frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog. He took some powerful drugs that would put him out for the night, from what that team reported.
The bloody footprints that led to the janitorial closet must have been a coincidence. The boots that made the print were a common brand and an even more common size ten. Detective Higgins would have to find a different explanation. It could be as simple as one of the culprits hiding in the janitor’s closet while a security patrol rushed to Bachman’s office.
“Jarred…” the sound of his name echoed down the long hallway from some beautiful goddess-like voice.
“Jarred…” this time the echo was a sultrier and haunting lure.
He worked his way down the long hallway until he arrived in the foyer. The two side tables that flanked the doorway were both covered in a number of his favorite foods, his eyes first landing on the General Tso’s chicken, the real chicken not the synth stuff. Sitting next to it, New York style pizza that had so much pepperoni on it, he couldn’t even see the cheese that he knew was there, ready to melt in his mouth.
“Jarred… don’t keep us waiting…” the first goddess-like voice spoke again echoing but louder this time.
The sultry sounding woman giggled in a youthful way that sounded out of character for her.
He opened his mouth wide and took a massive bite out of the end of the pizza and wiped his hands on his pants. He savored all the flavors as the pizza dissolved in his mouth and kept walking.
Finally, he threw the doors open, and there was his bed, his eyes widening to take in the massive unreal expanse of the bed. The sheets were spun up and around two young, nubile women. They were naked and playing with each other, Kayla and Apple.
His heavy eye lids finally stopped squinting. The light from the room soaked into his irises. He was laying in his recliner with a half full bottle of beer in one hand. His computer was beeping at him. The little medicine bottle clattered to the floor as he reached for his computer interface. The pretty little pills responsible for sending him to that other world rolled across the tile floor.
“Idiot! Where the hell are you? We’re supposed to pull that job now.” Kayla sounded frantic.
Jarred looked over at the clock; and with his head still in a haze, he moved into rapid autopilot to get dressed and presentable.
Jarred rubbed the scruff on his chin as he rode the rail car toward his rendezvous and mission with Kayla and Apple. Nervous sweat clung to Jarred’s top as his mind connected the dots of the fantasy girls to the two girls in Jarred’s reality. Those visions haunted him and enticed him.
Jarred could smell the musk on the mass of people that stood tightly around him on the rail car. It certainly seemed like all the people were pushing in around him on purpose, much more than they needed to fit in the small elevated rail car.
As the train pulled into the station, Jarred saw something rather strange going on. He rubbed his eyes and blinked furiously for the false vision to clear away. He hoped to figure out just what the hell his brain was changing over to the Dalek-looking robot wheeling around the station floor.
Jarred Dobson rubbed his eyes one final time as the elevated rail car pulled into the sky scraper station. The Dalek bot was gone. He forced his way through the crowd, rudely bursting through some people. He sensed the angry eyes of those that missed the train by a split second jerk. He received a slew of curses as he travelled through the business men leaving work and maintenance men getting ready for the late shift. Jarred’s lucid state made moving through the obstacles of people as challenging as knocking the pinball into the grand prize slide.
Their meeting place was a couple of benches between a McDonald’s 3-star sit down joint and a stinky Abercrombie store. Jarred did not see Kayla or Apple. Did they abandon the mission, choose to go without him (not likely), or somehow get a vibe from Jarred that revealed the content of his recent hallucinations?
Before Jarred got all the way to the benches to have a proper sniff out, he felt a very strong arm curl around his left bicep. An insidious murmuring voice echoed in Jarred’s ear, “Just keep walking and don’t act like anything is outa sorts.”
Jarred glanced at the man who now forcefully tugged him along. No more words were needed to articulate the point. In a glance, Jarred was sure that he noticed some form of armament concealed in the man’s belt under his rain coat. The two rounded a couple of hallways until confronted by only a lonely, unattended candy kiosk, another man briskly walked to the pair and pitched a dark hood over Jarred’s head.
A quick trip to a nearby platform and he was riding in the back of a hover van. These things weren’t exactly cheap. Government maybe, Jarred thought. Had they figured out that he was in on the recent break-in at the congressional office?
Apple and Kayla both perched next to Jarred in the back of the van. Low voices spoke queries and instructions at the front of the van.
With no visual stimuli, Jarred’s other senses seemed heightened by his recent drug use. One of the voices said, “Then we’ll dump them in a service ditch near the weeds.” Jarred heard another voice respond, “The boss wants them to suffer first, starting with the girls, so the guy has to watch.” Jarred started to panic, he flailed around uselessly with his hands and feet tied.
Kayla was calm and collected. She hummed to herself and contemplated just how she would get herself and her two friends out of this mess. Thoughts of doubt oppressed her mind. She was trying to be a resistance cell leader, but what kind of leader led her crew to constant failures?
Apple felt great anxiety, the feel made real by the feel of the veins on her head pulsing blood through rapidly. Her heart was going to explode. Apple hated to be cut off from the masses. When not in cyberspace, she found the need to be constantly surrounded, never alone. Here she was alone in her own head, and the sight was frightful.
It was only a few minutes removed from all the chaos, the hoods were removed from all three of them and they were surrounded by curious archaic looking gadgets. Was this really just the home of a dweeby steampunk enthusiast?
“Barry Lesco.” Kayla enumerated after taking a short look around. With the name came a great sigh of relief. As her shoulders lost tension, Jarred followed suit in relaxing. Apple still looked around wide eyed and obviously nervous.
“I know that you wanted to help the resistance. You are not ready to lead your own cell. You have tripped and stumbled over each task that you have charged yourself. Step back. Let me give you some direction,” Barry Lesco stated very matter of fact.
“And I’m not done…” Barry waved his hand across his body to halt all interjections. “Kayla, I know and understand that you dislike technology. I know that your goals and purposes for fighting this fight are not the same as many of our mainstream goals. I don’t shun you for that. However, much of our battle will be carried out in cyberspace. You MUST learn how to use it,” Barry stated that last part with a strong emphasis.
“What the hell man? We’re on the same side? Why the prisoner treatment? I thought a noose was next on the list for my evening attire,” Jarred was fuming.
Barry glared at Jarred, “do you realize that if you showed up on time tonight, you’d be rotting in a jail cell right now?” Jarred looked down to the ground in shame. Barry continued… “You, Jarred, were under surveillance tonight. For whatever reason, Detective Higgins believes you have some connection to the Resistance.”
“And Kayla, the last task that you performed for me went so well. You spliced the Oathed Technocratic intranet and we got a nice data packet of a lot of the projects and goals they have.” Barry let his archaic brown leather coat fall open as he leaned back in his chair, facing the three.
Kayla nodded in agreement and looked up to the ceiling, avoiding eye contact. Jarred still looked at the ground. Apple stared at Barry and he finally turned his attention to the youthful girl.
“You are the new proportion that I have yet to fully understand. I invite you to help us in this fight, but you have not gotten in so deep that you have to stay.” Barry reached out and stroked her hand in assurance, “there is no embarrassment in backing out of such a dangerous cause at such a young age.”
Apple shook her head and her wide eyes receded into a determined squint. “IM. For Zodi, an’ now Kay n Jar.”
Barry left the room for a few minutes to allow the situation to sink in and the embarrassment to wear off. Barry’s guards untied the hands and feet of all three. He returned to the room after a short amount of quiet banter. “So, do I have a little Trivium Resistance Cell to add to my Order of Battle?”
The three looked to each other and locked eyes one after another and all of them nodded. They described everything that happened up to the here and now. He laid out a plan of action and the three of them left Barry’s residence with a new confidence.
As soon as Apple took the elevator down to retrieve her car, Kayla spun closely to face Jarred. He moved in to embrace her and she pushed him away, a scowl across her face. “We’ll work together in the Resistance, if you intend to stay on. You left Apple and I hanging out to dry. You have too many problems, problems that I don’t need in my life. Outside of our duties in this, I don’t want to see you anymore.” Kayla laid down the law and barely waited for a retort as she turned from Jarred and headed for the rail station.